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Chartiers Valley counselors gave a 3-year plan, a 'snapshot of what we do'

Chartiers Valley School District counselors provided school directors with an updated three-year district plan for career and technical education.

Chartiers Valley School District counselors provided school directors with an updated three-year district plan for career and technical education.

Nicolette Churilla, K-12 counseling head and counselor at the Intermediate School, and Lesley Kunkel, a high school counselor, showed the school’s three-year guidance plan at a school board meeting in March.

The career education and work standards include four areas: career awareness and preparation, finding a job, career advancement, and starting a business. Having a plan is required by the state.

“This is truly the framework of what our department does, and it covers all domains from career, academic, and personal (and) social,” Churilla said. “… We just wanted to give you a quick snapshot of what we do when it comes to career education.”

Chartiers Valley has three counselors at the high school, serving at a ratio of about 330 students to one counselor. There are two counselors at the middle school, for a ratio of 380 students to one counselor.

The intermediate and primary schools have one counselor each. There are 820 students at the intermediate school and 880 students at the primary school.

Students start a career portfolio in kindergarten, which evolves all the way through their high school career, Churilla said. At fifth, eighth and 11th grades, the district reports to the state with “artifacts,” or benchmarks, in a student’s portfolio.

In the 2022-23 school year, 100% of fifth and eighth grade students, and 99.6% of 11th grade students, had all the required artifacts in their portfolio.

The district hopes to join the RIASEC — realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising and conventional — framework next year, which is similar to a test to measure interest in future careers.

Primary school students take the personality quiz and undergo Second Step, a social-emotional learning curriculum. Students continue social-emotional learning when they get to the Intermediate School, and fifth graders participate in Junior Achievement BizTown, which highlights financial literacy.

At the middle school level, students look into business classes, and talk about financial decision-making and spending, careers, credit, and borrowing, Kunkel said. There’s a shift to a digital portfolio, Naviance, at the middle and high school levels.

“They provide the career profiler, career clusters, some personality assessments, so kids really start doing more advanced explorations so that when they’re in the high school, they have an idea of, ‘What classes do I want to take? What can I start thinking about, after high school?’” Kunkel said.

At the high school level, the district has advisors, classroom lessons and small group seminars for career readiness for students, Kunkel said. Things such as practice interviews and resumes go into a student’s portfolio.

“We go over everything between college, trade school, service industry, straight to work, anything and everything,” Kunkel said.

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